Thursday, April 01, 2004

Scott McClellan, efficiency expert

It's amusing to watch current White House spokesweasel Scott McClellan not even try very hard these days to deflect the ever-aggressive questioning from the WH press corps.

Traditionally (in the vein of Jedi master Ari Fleischer), there have been three common strategies to blow off an embarrassing question.

First, reject the premise of the question outright, with something like, "I'm not sure I even agree with your premise," even when the question is based on something painfully obvious like, "Scott, the Iraqis seem a bit miffed about being occupied."

Second, suggest that the question would be more appropriately asked elsewhere. For example, even if the question is about the president's opinion on, say, Israel's relations with the Palestinians, the questioner is told to ask the Israelis.

And, finally, the surefire winner of just saying you've dealt with the question earlier, it's been addressed, and you're not going to deal with it again (this last strategy typically wasting several minutes of time when just answering the question in the first place would take far less time).

But it's really awe-inspiring when McClellan does all three at the same time, as in a recent WH gaggle, when he was asked about civil servants at the Treasury Department being asked to do partisan work for the Republicans (

McCLELLAN: I don't know if I agree with the characterization of your question. I think you ought to talk to the Treasury Department. I think they have addressed this matter.

OK, granted that that third sentence claims that someone else has already addressed the matter. But, really, does it get any better than this?

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